Home South African PSA calls on Ramaphosa to intervene to prevent Sassa strike

PSA calls on Ramaphosa to intervene to prevent Sassa strike

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The Public Servants Association, which represents the majority of employees at the SA Social Security Agency, has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene to prevent possible strike action following a deadlock in salary negotiations.

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THE PUBLIC Servants Association (PSA), which represents the majority of employees at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene to prevent possible strike action following a deadlock in salary negotiations.

Reuben Maleka, acting deputy manager for members’ affairs at the PSA, said in a statement on Monday that the union is balloting its members on possible strike action.

He said the PSA tabled a demand for Sassa employees to receive a 2022/23 cost-of-living adjustment of 10% and for the housing allowance to be increased to R2,500.

This was rejected by Sassa without tabling any offers to the PSA, he said.

“This resulted in a collapse of negotiations and the PSA is currently balloting its members on the way forward. Depending on the outcome of the ballot, the PSA will possibly approach the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration with a dispute, which may lead to a strike if unresolved,” said Maleka.

He pointed out that the current realities in South Africa are high unemployment, many families living below the poverty line, and some 18.6 million South Africans depending on social grants.

“A strike at Sassa will have a severe impact on the processing and payment of grants. The PSA thus calls upon President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in this matter and direct his ministers at finance, public service and administration, and social development to allow negotiations to take place at the SNBF (Sassa National Bargaining Forum) and a resolution be found between parties, which may avert a strike,” he said.

He said the SNBF was an independent bargaining forum, which was established in terms of a constitution and chaired by an independent chairperson. The SNBF constitution provides for parties to negotiate on matters of mutual interest, including remuneration and benefits.

Maleka said Sassa is not a party to the Public Service Sectoral Bargaining Council (PSCBC) and its employees can thus not participate in the current public service industrial action.

“Despite this, Sassa insists on aligning itself with PSCBC agreements and implementing these for its employees, as if applicable. The anomaly means that whenever there are disputes of interpretation and application regarding PSCBC agreements applied at Sassa, Sassa employees do not have the jurisdiction to refer such disputes to the PSCBC,” he explained.

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